Hong Kong students in Taiwan protest against extradition bill
Taipei, June 9 (CNA) Hundreds of Hong Kong students gathered in front of the Hong Kong representative office in Taipei Sunday to express their objection to a proposed bill in Hong Kong that would allow the extradition of crime suspects to China for trial.
As their compatriots held a massive rally for the same purpose in Hong Kong, a petition signed by 670 Hong Kong students in Taiwan was delivered to the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office during the demonstration, which was also attended by dissident Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee (林榮基).
The controversial bill will significantly relax the requirements and process for extradition of Hong Kong fugitives to China, without the need for legislative or court approval, said Ho Wing Tung (何詠彤), a Hong Kong student in Taiwan and an organizer of a group that is monitoring developments regarding the bill.
Under the proposed bill, the Hong Kong government can send fugitives to China, Taiwan and Macau with the nod of Hong Kong's chief executive, Ho said, adding that she doubts the chief executive's ability to deny an extradition request from Beijing, especially on a political case.
The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance amendment bill was introduced by the Hong Kong Security Bureau to the Legislative Council in February, after a homicide case involving a Hong Kong couple occurred in Taipei in 2018 and the Hong Kong suspect who escaped back to Hong Kong could not be extradited to Taiwan due to the lack of a relevant agreement.
Ho said she fears for the safety of international travelers in Hong Kong, including Taiwanese, if the proposed amendments are passed, owing to China's human rights record.
She urged the Hong Kong government to recall the bill, as it will affect the special administrative region's international reputation, human rights condition and trade.
Meanwhile, Lam, who was a victim of forced disappearance for more than half a year during a trip he made to China in 2015, said that although it was not a crime selling books in Hong Kong in the past, he would have to leave for good if the bill is passed.
Lam came to Taiwan April 25 concerned that he could be sent back to mainland China after Hong Kong authorities announced plans to approve extradition to the mainland.
Other protesters in the Taipei rally slammed the Hong Kong government for using the Taiwan homicide case as an excuse to pass the controversial bill and expressed hope that Hong Kong will not suffer the same fate as Taiwan in the past when people lived under the "white terror."
In Taiwan, the White Terror refers to the suppression of political dissidents during the period of martial law from 1949 to 1987.
In Hong Kong, an estimated 500,000 protesters took to the streets to protest the proposed extradition bill, according to its organizers. However, police estimated the crowd at around 155,000.
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